Friday, July 23, 2010

Watermelon Salad!

Not in Adriana's kitchen! She would, I think, have been appalled at the idea of Anguria (Watermelon) Salad, at least until she tasted it, and then, I think, she would have been converted. But we'll never know, and we do enjoy this relatively new addition to our repertoire of summer side dishes. It's very simple to do, colourful and refreshing.
In the hot Friulian summers we'd often buy the biggest local watermelon we could find from a grower out in the countryside, take it home, and place it under the pump outside the kitchen door so that it would be cold when we were ready to eat it after "cena" (supper). This pump ran day and night, forever as far as I know, with water from an artesian well deep underground. Every cortile, even every house, had one. The water ran into a sort of rectangular cement tub which was used to wash all the garden produce, do the laundry, and keep bottles of limonata, orangeata, and beer cool. Adriana was shocked, however, when I washed my (then) long hair under the freezing water, and told me it would surely make me sick. It didn't.

Watermelon Salad
As usual, the amounts and proportions are up to you.
Cube some watermelon and put it into a pretty bowl or on a small platter.
Add some cubed Feta cheese.
Add some Basil. You can do a chiffonade (roll up the leaves and slice) or tear some whole leaves, reserving a few intact for garnish.
Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to taste. (a fair amount)
Decorate (sparingly) with fresh Basil leaves.
That's it! Now isn't that delicious! And pretty! And easy!

So when we were ready to eat the watermelon, someone was sent to retrieve it from the pump, and Nonna (Adriana) set to work cutting it up into wedges. This was no small task as there were often as many as 14 of us gathered around the table. And we knew that we were not to discard the rinds, as Nonna cut them into pieces and put them into a pail as a special treat to be taken out to her beloved pig.

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